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For those still waiting to upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop, the LG G Flex 2 is a shortcut to unlocking the newest version of Google's mobile operating system. The phone comes with the OS pre-loaded and is a huge improvement over the original LG G Flex that used the LG G2 interface.
It actually comes with Android 5.0.1, but you wouldn't know it, as visual draws of the Nexus 6 are masked by LG's own Optimus skin. That means, while it has a lot of the behind-the-scenes benefits of the new Android update, the interface looks almost exactly like that of the LG G3.
Lockscreen notifications are the biggest change on the curvy phone. They can now be read as you enter a lockscreen password like the LG's tap-initiated Knock Code. The bottom home screen buttons that reflect Google's latest design guidelines and the "clear" button at the bottom of the notifications panel represent smaller alterations.
Sliding left on the concave screen pulls up LG-exclusive widgets like its exercise-focused Health service and Smart Tips tutorial. Both are skippable. One of the best fitness trackers we have reviewed will do you a lot better with a modern user interface.
Sliding down from the top when the phone is unlocked reveals a combined quick controls and notifications menu. This is actually faster than Google's decision to force users to swipe twice (or with two fingers simultaneously) to access quick controls for WiFi, display brightness and Bluetooth.
Sliding down from the top when the phone is locked lets you peek at the time and date. It's provided me with a fast time check without forcing me to unlock the phone or kill the battery with the entire screen illuminated. I also really liked how I could set a home time and local time here, good when crossing country border in different time zones.
I also fully appreciate LG's decision to add an easy way to change the main volume and also dive into a volume submenu to adjust the ringtone, notifications and multimedia sound separately. There's nothing I hate more than turning the volume all the way down on my Nexus 6 only to play a blaring YouTube video in the middle of the night because the hidden-away media volume slider was still cranked all the way up.
Movies and music
LG G Flex 2's curved display doesn't feel dramatically immersive for movies compared to any other smartphone I've tested. However, it's new 1080p resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio make it a multimedia treat nonetheless.
The 5.5-inch size isn't a big letdown either, despite the fact that I was previously using the much larger Google Nexus 6. The sound is my only complaint for movies and all music. The backward-facing speaker shoots audio in the wrong direction.
The sound didn't make me want to stop streaming Netflix, but it did make me want to reach for a tablet. There are no better signs than when a big smartphone makes you use your tablet less or stow your earbuds because the quality is just that good. In this case, LG gets it half right.
Playing games from the Google Play Store wasn't a problem, even though the Snapdragon 810 processor speeds were all over the place. It didn't slow down my 3D racing skills in Asphalt 8: Airborne. In fact, I bested my lap time.
This is where the curved display of the LG G Flex 2 is a little more immersive. By focusing on the screen so intently, I got a little sucked into the game. It wasn't revolutionary and certainly not a reason to spring for a more expensive phone. But the bend, combined with the proper bezel size that didn't interfere with the touchscreen, made it marginally superior for gaming.
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